Amnesiac Wakes From Coma Speaking Only Ancient Hebrew-Fiction!

Amnesiac Wakes From Coma Speaking Only Ancient Hebrew-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
A man who spent six days in a coma after an attack awoke speaking ancient Hebrew and has no recollection of his former life.
The Truth:
A fake news website is behind this hoax.
The fictional story of a 53-year-old California man who awoke from a coma speaking only ancient Hebrew first appeared at the fake news website World News Daily Report:

The man was found unconscious in a California motel on August 9. He had with him a duffel bag of exercise clothes, a backpack and tennis rackets. He carried a California identification card and a Social Security card, both identifying him as Jamal Miller.

When he woke up in the Cedars-Sinai hospital days later, he had no memory of his past and could only speak in an unknown language. For three days, the puzzle remained complete until a rabbi visiting a friend in a nearby room, identified the tongue as ancient Hebrew and was able to communicate with the poor man.

The fake report said that the man suffered from “foreign language syndrome,” which occurs when a person speaks a new language after suffering a brain injury. Foreign language syndrome isn’t a legitimate medical condition, but the idea of it got a lot of attention back in 2010 when a Slavic girl allegedly awoke from a coma speaking fluent German, not her native Croatian language. The tale is true, but the girl had actually studied German before her injury, the blog site Neurologica explains:

Now the interesting part is that after she woke up from the coma she could speak German a lot more fluently than before and not a word in Croatian. My guess is that Sepsis caused a brain damage in left temporal lobe. Probably mostly in Broca’s Area, thus disabling her in speaking Croatian but not damaging her knowledge of German language. At that point her brain probably switched to best alternative and her passive knowledge of German sprang to life. Without possibility to fall back to Croatian vocabulary there is no dilemma in which words to choose and how to use them so her German must have sounded a lot better to doctors and her parents.

So, short of a miracle, there’s no way that a person could wake up speaking fluent ancient Hebrew after a brain injury if they had never studied the language before.